Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Inside the End Quotes by Mary Deal




Much confusion exists about what goes inside or outside of the end quotes in dialogue.

To digress briefly, the only sentences that should be included in quotation marks are something that someone said. Quotes are used a lot to set off passages taken from other writing. Though allowed, quotation marks are being over-used to draw attention to words and phrases other than dialogue. Considering dialogue, quotes can also be used to set off a repeated portion of something another person said. An example:

~ His response to revealing the secret was that it was “deep and dark.”

Now consider this sentence:

~ San Francisco is known as “The City by the Bay.”

In the examples with quotation marks, I would immediately wonder who said that. Yet, it isn’t written as dialogue. The correct way to set off a title or information other than dialogue is to present it in italics.

San Francisco is known as The City by the Bay.

Having clarified that, what follows is the correct positioning of the end quotes on various forms of dialogue.

All punctuation, whether statement, question or exclamation, belongs inside the end quotes.

Where did you go?” she asked.

In the above sentence, the question mark must follow the question, then the end quotes. Even though we use a question mark instead of a comma, the sentence continues with she asked.

We went to the movie first.”

I don’t believe it!”

I told you, I did it,” she said.

Notice in the last example above that the sentence wasn’t complete until after the word said. A comma was used after it, then the end quotes. The variation from the sentence above with the question mark is that a question mark always follows a question, regardless that there is more to the sentence.
Then we get into a person relating something someone else said. That’s where you find single quotes inside double quotes.

When she became obstinate, her mother said, ‘Go to your room!’”

In this example of dialogue, the sentence within a sentence – Go to your room – is set off with single quotation marks. Notice that the exclamation point ending the dialogue goes inside both sets of end quotes: The exclamation point, then the single end quote to end the dialogue within dialogue, and then the double end quote signifying the final end to the entire string of dialogue.
The exclamation point belongs with the string Go to your room, so belongs inside the single end quote. In the cases where an exclamation point should end the embodying string of dialogue, the exclamation point would be placed between the single end quote and the double one, like this:

I hated that he quietly said, ‘It’s over’!”

Notice here, too, the lack of a period after the repeated dialogue. Someone else said It’s over but it is not the end of the whole sentence that is being spoken in anger. So the exclamation point belongs after the single quote mark but inside the double end quotes.
For most writers, the simple rule is that all punctuation goes inside the end quotes. When it becomes more complicated is when you begin to quote dialogue where one person is telling what another person said. Then many more variations exist.
Much to any writer’s chagrin, instruction for proper usage of quotation marks could fill many pages. It’s wise to have a reputable book of punctuation nearby and seek out the exact examples and solutions you may need for your prose.
To assure your punctuation won’t get your prose rejected, I highly recommend The Chicago Manual of Style: The Essential Guide for Writers, Editors and Publishers.




Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Those S and ES Endings




These endings have always troubled me until I finally decided to get it right. Compare the versions and pick out the correct usages in this name ending with the letter s.

The Joneses came for dinner.
The Jones’s came for dinner.
The Jones came for dinner.

John Joneses car stalled.
John Jones car stalled.
John Jones’s car stalled.

That Jones’s girl.
That Joneses girl.
That Jones girl.

The correct sentences are:

The Joneses came for dinner.
John Jones’s car stalled.
That Jones girl.

Some tips:

When a name ends with an s, and when speaking of the family as a group, add es, as in Joneses.
When speaking about something John Jones owned, it is his property and, therefore, an apostrophe and s shows ownership, as in Jones’s.
When speaking about a person in the singular, use only the name Jones.
However, when speaking about a group of girls all named Jones, you would write that sentence: The Jones girls. Notice that the name stays the same but the s is added to the word girl, stating more than one exists with that name.



Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Amazon Best-Selling Author
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Rules of Grammar by Mary Deal

The rules of grammar are to, first, benefit a reader.

Grammar is standard format to which good writers will adhere. Secondly, it provides all writers a standard to follow that makes the written word fluent. Proper grammar is the backbone of all written prose, regardless some be written in colloquialisms, laced with foreign words, slang, or any other variation.

See it this way–

An avid reader picks up a book written according to the rules of grammar. They read through the book quickly and immensely enjoy the story because nothing impedes their reading experience.
Yet another well-read reader opens a book only to find grammar flaws such as poor format, incorrect sentence structure, irregular or incorrect speaker tags and beats, and other jarring errors. It’s difficult for this reader to enjoy the book because the author did not follow the rules of correct grammar that make for a smooth read and which is constant in all good books.
Poor grammar and composition in an otherwise great story deflates the reader’s enthusiasm. The reader may think twice about having to pick their way through a plethora of errors in any new book by that author. Some will not complete the read of the present book.
Our school system requires all graduates to have studied English grammar. I’ve found that many have forgotten what they learned. Too, it’s erroneous to believe that because we studied grammar in school that we know how to write.
Truth is, few remember.
Another truth is that most writers have never been told how to write a story of greater length. Writing a story or book length manuscript is different in the real world than composing high school or college papers.
A short cut to learning proper grammar is as I always recommend: Get your hands on a copy of The Chicago Manual of Style and a thesaurus. Any time you have difficulty, for example, composing a sentence or deciding whether to use a colon or semi-colon, or need a more descriptive verb, refer to these thorough and concise research aids.
Don’t ask a friend to help you sort out grammar inconsistencies. Friends may not be able to solve your problems and then leave you to make an arbitrary decision.
You can post your questions on a website. Others will reply with a variety of answers, but whom do you believe? If you’re sure the friend you ask is a professional with grammar, then go ahead and trust their response if they seem certain.

An inexperienced writer having to relearn grammar all the while writing a book will surely destroy a friendship if that writer constantly expects the friend to advise them all along the way.

At some early point, every writer must take responsibility for learning how to make their stories as perfect as possible.
Two other references I always recommend – I could recommend many but will skim the best off the top of the list here – are:

Writing with Clarity and Style by Robert A. Harris

Complete Stylist and Handbook by Sheridan Baker

Should you feel you are knowledgeable enough to write your opus but you encounter problems along the way, then to the list above, I would suggest you freely refer to my book, Write it Right – Tips for Authors,The Big Book.
Particular information found here is meant for writers who progress nicely, but find problems that should be smoothed out in order to compose fluid prose.
Maintaining a library of reference books to guide you is best. Many books offer bits of information about this and that, but no one book will solve all of your problems.
Those able to write stunning prose based on her or his current knowledge or ability may not need a lot of books. Any questions they have can be researched in reference books or writing reference sites on the Net.

Any early uncertainties about writing abilities overall could be solved with a course or two in writing to give some sort of foundation or base from which to begin.



 Mary Deal

Author, Painter, Photographer
Amazon Best-Selling Author
Eric Hoffer Book Award Winner
National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist (past)
Pushcart Prize Nominee
Global eBook Awards Nominee
2014 National Indie Excellence Book Awards Finalist
Global eBook Awards Bronze
Global eBook Awards Silver
Art Gallery: http://www.MaryDealFineArt.com
Gift Gallery: zazzle.com/IslandImageGallery*

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

SPRING CONCERT by Patricia Crandall


 Melodic soft voices
drifting in harmony
as dark-suited boys
and white organdy girls
wear gentle expressions
of spring

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Infinity, a poem by Patricia Crandall


 
                                                                                    Passage
                                                                                    In drifting waves
                                                                                    A jewel of a lake
                                                                                    Unable to rein in my gaze

                                                                                    Earth…sky

Monday, March 5, 2018

MY EYES ARE A CAMERA, a poem



Icy tunneled roadways
give shelter from wintry winds
where tousled, snow-fingered limbs
harbor iced patterns
on fragile leaves
yet to fall off armies of trees.
A tree-lined lake        
mirrors blue and gold
(ice and sun).
The brightest star shines
higher than its counterpart,
(a quarter moon). At night,
moonlight showers
are white-gold
like a husky’s fur.
In the woodland,
early spring moves slap-dash
through a running brook.
At dusk, birds share
bounteous feeders.
New snowflakes fall
on the frozen ground.
At the roadside,
snow-capped mailboxes
and snow-shelves
bank along the passageways.
 
by
Patricia Crandall
 

Inside the End Quotes by Mary Deal

Much confusion exists about what goes inside or outside of the end quotes in dialogue. To digress briefly, the only sentences ...